Grayson County, Texas commissioners have agreed to demolish six buildings on the campus of Grayson College – buildings that officials say are full of asbestos.
According to a story on KXII News, the buildings are part of the campus that sits on a site that was once Texas’s Perrin Air Force Base. The base occupied the location from 1941 to 1971, and after it closed, the college used the six buildings in question as dormitories and for other purposes as well. Now, former students are worried that their health may be in jeopardy because the buildings, currently in deplorable condition, are laden with asbestos.
“We stopped using them because they were way out of date and then deteriorated quickly after that,” said Shelle Cassell, a spokesperson for Grayson College. “Asbestos was a very common material so it’s in almost every building that [the Air Force] built,” she added.
Apparently, the buildings were used for more than just married student housing, the story noted. They also served as a cafeteria, commissary, piano tuning facility, auto shop, and even a hospital. That means a host of individuals may have been exposed to toxic asbestos materials inside the buildings, which were already beginning to show their age by the time the Air Force moved out in 1971.
Asbestos materials are at their most dangerous when they are old or damaged. In that state, it’s easy for errant fibers to become airborne and make their way into the lungs of anyone in the vicinity of the asbestos dust. Asbestos exposure can cause scarring of the lungs and the disease known as asbestosis. It can also lead to the formation of cancerous tumors and a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma, a hard-to-treat cancer with a grim prognosis. It usually takes several decades for the disease to be diagnosed, so those who lived in the dorms in the 70s may still be at risk for developing the disease.